Lamar stands firm in his last days in the Senate

Just after bringing Mitch McConnell to tears and receiving bipartisan plaudits for his storied career, retiring Sen. Lamar Alexander received a pointed, if polite, missive from The Wall Street Journal.

“We’re sorry to say he has it backward,” the usually friendly conservative editorial board wrote on his opposition to one of President Donald Trump’s Federal Reserve nominees.

The Tennessee senator is now the biggest impediment to confirming Judy Shelton to the Fed, and Shelton’s supporters have relentlessly tried to sway him. But though Alexander is a longtime deal-maker, he’s quite firm when it comes to the controversial Fed pick.

“Ever since I've been here, I've been very strong in my belief that we need an independent central bank,” Alexander said in a 20-minute interview Thursday about Shelton, his own legacy and the state of the GOP. “And I'm not convinced that she believes in the independence of the [Fed] as strongly as I believe members of the Board of Governors should.”

When Alexander announced his opposition to Shelton in November, it appeared she would still be confirmed. But then Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) caught coronavirus, Shelton’s nomination failed on the floor and Mark Kelly was sworn in as a Democratic senator from Arizona. With just a 52-seat majority and two other Republicans opposed, Alexander’s “no” vote is now decisive.

“He just felt like it was a question of conviction and principle for him,” said Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the Republican whip. “As recently as yesterday there were some folks that were talking to him. But he’s not moving. And I respect that.”

From left, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell listens to Sen. Lamar Alexander in a Capitol hallway after a vote on Dec. 2, 2019 .

Alexander likes to say that politicians and those in public life are remembered by the last thing they do — language he used to prod Trump to accept the results of the election and allow a transition to President-elect Joe Biden. Though one of his last acts will be blocking Shelton, Alexander's legacy is far-reaching and complex.

As one of McConnell’s closest friends in the Senate, he’s long been a reliable Republican vote. Just this year, he joined with his party to block more witnesses from testifying at Trump’s impeachment trial and helped pave the way for Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation right before the election.

Yet Alexander is also a defender of the institution and the art of compromise after three terms in the Senate. He had a stint as Education secretary and two terms as governor of his state, not to mention a pair of presidential campaigns. He’s cut deals on immigration, higher education reform and student loan rates in recent years, and helped deliver a massive, bipartisan outdoors bill to the president’s desk over the summer.

“It leaves a hole in the Senate, absolutely. It’s hard to get things done here without partners on both sides. And he has always been someone who is willing to stop and listen. And that’s a critical part of getting things done,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), a frequent collaborator on the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which Alexander chairs.

Unlike some other retiring Republicans, Alexander has been careful not to get crosswise with the volatile president who leads his party, a distinction that sets him apart from former Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who was similarly inclined to negotiate with Democrats. The bespectacled and genial 80-year-old Republican chooses his words carefully, often organizing his thoughts in bullet points on note cards as he walks through the Capitol.

From left, Sen. Lamar Alexander and then-Sen. Bob Corker attend a rally for President Donald Trump in Nashville, Tenn., on May 29, 2018.

Trump has a plainly different style than Alexander. But he will go only so far in chastising the president. After all, he still has bills he wants Trump to sign, even in December.

“Policy-wise, I think our party is headed in a good direction. President Trump’s style and behavior sometimes gets in the way of his considerable policy accomplishments,” Alexander said, praising Trump’s deregulatory agenda, tax cuts and conservative judges.

“The president's style and bad break of having to run during the Covid pandemic are probably the two things that caused the president to ...,” he said, catching himself for a moment. It “almost certainly looks like that when the electors meet next week, they’re going to vote for Biden.”

Perhaps the most pivotal moment of Alexander’s final two years came in January, as he considered the question of whether to call more witnesses in Trump’s impeachment trial and upend McConnell’s plan for a speedy acquittal. In the end, he came up with a surprising solution: He thought Democrats had already proved their case, so why did he need to hear more?

“He made an inappropriate phone call to the president of Ukraine, I thought that was clear,” Alexander said. “I also thought it was clear that that's not grounds to remove him from office and take him off the ballot ... why do you need 10 witnesses when six have already made the case?”

That moment disappointed Democrats, who had hoped Alexander would mimic the late GOP Tennessee Sen. Howard Baker’s actions during former President Richard Nixon’s downfall. But Alexander’s vote did little to harm his reputation among Democratic colleagues.

Sen. Lamar Alexander gives President Donald Trump a walking stick after the president signed the Great American Outdoors Act during a singing ceremony at the White House on August 4, 2020.

“Every Republican of this era will be defined, at least partly, in relation to how they interact with Donald Trump. But for Lamar, he's got a body of work that's long enough, and deep enough and bipartisan enough, that that's not the only thing that will be written about him,” said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), who has worked on energy issues with Alexander.

As he prepares to be succeeded by Bill Hagerty, Trump’s former ambassador to Japan, Alexander is flashing warning signs about the state of the Senate. He worries Biden is in for a difficult time getting his 1,200 nominees who will need Senate confirmation through. And that senators are wasting their strengths in not considering big bills and amendments on the floor.

“That senators can't offer amendments on the Senate floor, you know, I say it was like joining the Grand Ole Opry and not being allowed to sing,” Alexander said, criticizing individual senators for refusing to compromise. “We got too much talent here for us just to be sitting around with our finger in our ear.”

Alexander had hoped to pass legislation curbing surprise medical billing as the cornerstone to his last year in office, but it’s unlikely to win approval amid the lame duck sprint. He still harbors hopes for simplifying student loan forms in the coming days, the kind of low-key new law that befits a senator who once wore the same red-and-black plaid shirt while campaigning across Tennessee (he and his staff now don masks of the same pattern).

But the flashiest thing the pragmatic Alexander did in the closing days of his Senate career is keeping Shelton off the Federal Reserve. And on that, there’s no room for negotiation, he said: “I've already made my decision.”

“He’s a man of backbone and principle. He doesn’t care much about which way the wind is blowing, he cares only about which direction he’s headed,” said Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who also opposes Shelton. “He’s a person of principle, of conscience. And we all need to be reminded of that from time to time.”

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GOP state lawmakers file articles of impeached against Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine

Ohio state GOP lawmakers on Tuesday filed articles of impeachment against Republican Gov. Mike DeWine over his mask mandate and order for businesses to close to curtail the spread of COVID-19.

Whoopi Goldberg Claims Trump Won’t Run For President In 2024 Because He’ll Be In Jail

Whoopi Goldberg’s obsessive hatred for Donald Trump reared its ugly head once again this week when she claimed that he won’t be able to run for president again in 2024 because he’ll be in jail.

‘The View’ Discusses Presidential Pardons

While the panel of the ABC talk show “The View” discussed presidential pardons, cohost Sara Haines asked, “Sunny, how are all these people being pardoned unless they spell out what they did? Don’t you have to have a reason to pardon someone?”

She addressed this question to “The View” cohost and legal analyst Sunny Hostin.

“That’s a great question,” she said. “The bottom line is that the president’s pardon power is extensive. You can’t pardon someone from impeachment. There’s no question you can issue a blanket pardon even for crimes that were committed, maybe could be —that haven’t even been charged, that could be charged.”

“His power is exhaustive,” Hostin added. “One thing he can’t pardon for is state crimes. He can only pardon for federal crimes. I would imagine New York is still open to investigation, Florida is still open to investigation.”

“Letitia James is waiting on him,” said Goldberg, who was clearly itching to have another Trump-bashing session.

“She really is. That’s the attorney general of New York,” Hostin said in agreement.

RELATED: Whoopi Goldberg Tells Trump Voters To ‘Suck It Up’ – ‘How Dare You Question Election Results?’

Whoopi Goldberg Goes In 

That’s when Goldberg went in.

She is waiting on him,” Goldberg added. “Well, I think it’s very exciting that, you know, he can try to — he can pardon himself federally, but there are all these people waiting. Letitia James is waiting with her little foot. She is patting that foot, waiting for him to make a step out.”

‘He keeps saying he’s going run in 2024,” she added. “You are not going to run if you are in jail, my friend. That is something you must also think of. I’m just saying tick tock baby.”

Goldberg has been wrong about nearly everything else about Trump. Here’s hoping that she’s wrong about this one, and that she gets a nasty surprise in 2024.

READ NEXT: Whoopi Goldberg Outrageously Claims GOP ‘Doesn’t Care If You Drop Dead Because You Can’t Breathe’

This piece was written by James Samson on December 1, 2020. It originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.

Read more at LifeZette:
Newt Gingrich Stands By Trump – Says 2020 Election Could Be ‘Biggest Presidential Theft’ Since 1824
Pennsylvania Lt. Governor Says Trump Will Get ‘Clock Cleaned’ If He Goes To Supreme Court To Approve Ruling
Joe Biden Slips And Twists His Ankle

The post Whoopi Goldberg Claims Trump Won’t Run For President In 2024 Because He’ll Be In Jail appeared first on The Political Insider.

Can Trump pardon himself? Arguably no, but that doesn’t mean he won’t try it

We know that at least since 2017, Trump has been consumed with one question: Can he grant himself a pardon? "One former White House official said Trump asked about self-pardons as well as pardons for his family. Trump even asked if he could issue pardons preemptively for things people could be charged with in the future, the former official said," CNN reported earlier this month. The former official told CNN: "Once he learned about it, he was obsessed with the power of pardons. […] I always thought he also liked it because it was a way to do a favor." One important note here: He could only pardon himself or others for federal crimes, and he has no coverage for the state crimes of the Trump Organization, which is being investigated by both the New York attorney general and the Manhattan district attorney.

But there's another question, and that’s whether the Constitution actually does allow a presidential self-pardon. This is a fun read in The Atlantic from constitutional law professor Eric L. Muller a the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, pondering whether Trump can pardon himself for all his past and potentially future crimes. What makes it fun is that Muller argues he has no power to do that because of one simple word: "Article II of the Constitution says that the president 'shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.' Did you catch that? The president has the power not to pardon people, but ‘to grant … Pardons [emphasis added]. So the question is not whether Trump can pardon himself. It's whether he can grant himself a pardon.”

Muller goes on to argue that the word "grant" and all its uses throughout the Constitution are quite clear: It's transitive "from one entity to another." Okay, but that's just his interpretation. What about—as is all the rage amongst the Federalist Society gang who would certainly be down with Trump doing whatever the hell he wanted—the "original public meaning" of the word grant and how the founders would have interpreted it? Muller looks to the most popular law dictionary in use at the time, which simply defines grant as a noun: a "conveyance in writing of incorporeal things." And what is a "conveyance?" It is "a deed which passes or conveys land from one man to another."

What it all boils down to after a really fun lexicographic romp is that just like you can't surrender to yourself, Trump can't give himself a grant of pardon; it has to be conferred by another. "Can Donald Trump grant himself a pardon? The evidence, at least according to the text of the Constitution and its original meaning, says no," Muller concludes.

Which puts Trump in an interesting position. At this point he is committed to not conceding. His whole post-presidency period is being set up to allow him to continue to bilk the rubes who adore him out of their hard-earned dollars on the premise that he is still the rightful president and that the office was stolen from him. So in order to achieve that, he has to stay in office until Jan. 20. But he can't be immune from future prosecution unless he gets the pardon. To do that, he'd have to resign and have Mike Pence do the deed. But he'd then be ceding the office, ceding his claim. What a dilemma!

There's the possibility that he could say he was temporarily incapacitated at some point, put Pence in as acting president for long enough to wave the magic wand, and then be president again. But that would also mean he would have to admit to having done federal criming, something he has vociferously denied having done while publicly musing on Twitter about how he could totally pardon himself if he wants to.  

As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong? In the meantime, the never ending Witch Hunt, led by 13 very Angry and Conflicted Democrats (& others) continues into the mid-terms!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2018

If nothing else, it's an intriguing question to ponder in the off hours. Largely because it gives one the opportunity to imagine Donald Trump behind bars.

Congressman Matt Gaetz: Trump Should Pardon Himself

Congressman Matt Gaetz believes President Trump should consider a pardon for himself and others in his administration as a means to fend off the radical left.

Gaetz made the comments during an appearance with Fox News personality Laura Ingraham earlier this week.

“President Trump should pardon Michael Flynn. He should pardon the Thanksgiving turkey,” he said. “He should pardon everyone from himself to his administration officials to Joe Exotic if he has to.”

While those comments were seemingly lighthearted, what lies on the horizon when President Trump leaves office – whether in 2021 or 2025 – is anything but.

“You see from the radical left a bloodlust that will only be quenched if they come after the people who worked so hard to animate the Trump administration with the policies and the vigor and the effectiveness that delivered for the American people,” Gaetz explained.

RELATED: Trump Snaps At ‘Lightweight’ Reporter: ‘Don’t Ever Talk to the President That Way’

Matt Gaetz Says Trump Should Pardon Himself

Despite a media and resistance party heavily invested in portraying President Trump as a criminal, it is important to note he has never been charged with a crime.

That said, there is actually legal precedence for granting such pardons.

The Washington Post reports:

In Ex parte Garland, the Supreme Court settled the question of preemptive pardons. The justices in that 1866 case decided that while pardons could reach only past acts, the pardon “may be exercised at any time after [the act’s] commission, either before legal proceedings are taken or during their pendency or after conviction and judgment.”

They go on to note that Abraham Lincoln pardoned dozens of people preemptively.

Perhaps most famously, President Gerald Ford pardoned President Richard Nixon, who had not been charged with anything at the time.

Would Joe Biden be willing to tamp down the fires of controversy in America by doing the same for Trump? 

Self-pardons have been an issue of much debate during President Trump’s tenure.

Law scholar Jonathan Turley has argued that the President has the right to do so.

“There is no language specifying who may or may not be the subject of a pardon,” he wrote in a USA Today column. “The president is simply given the power to pardon any federal crime.”

“As a textual matter, there is nothing to prevent Trump from adding his own name to the list of pardoned individuals.”

RELATED: Media’s Biased Coverage of the Election May Have Handed the Presidency to Biden

The Radical Left Will Never Stop

Signs of the ‘bloodlust’ Gaetz references have already been seen as Biden has been declared President-elect.

Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) demanded a thorough investigation and prosecution of the President and members of his administration.

Despite mentioning the phrase “many crimes,” Pascrell’s statement references none, instead making vague allusions to ‘profiting from his office’ and ‘endangering national security.’

Which, incidentally, he may want to draft a statement about the President-elect since evidence regarding his son Hunter’s business dealings with China seem to indicate actual guilt in such accusations.

Additionally, actor Rob Reiner says that a “non-partisan commission” should be created to investigate Trump after he leaves office to “restore faith in our Constitution and the Rule of Law.”

As for the pardon power – federal pardons issued by the president apply only to federal law; they do not apply to civil, state, or local offenses. And New York prosecutors have been harassing the Trump family for years now.

Ivanka Trump, the President’s daughter, recently called them “ruthless” and accused them of “harassment, pure and simple.”

It is harassment and the harassment, quite clearly, is never going to stop.

The post Congressman Matt Gaetz: Trump Should Pardon Himself appeared first on The Political Insider.

Trump Snaps At ‘Lightweight’ Reporter: ‘Don’t Ever Talk to the President That Way’

President Trump snapped at a reporter who tried interjecting on his comments about the election, referring to him as a “lightweight” and demanding he shows some respect.

The reporter has been identified in multiple outlets as Reuters White House correspondent Jeff Mason.

The media is portraying it as a meltdown when, in reality, it was a proper reminder to reporters who have shown zero respect for the President of the United States over the past four years exactly where they sit on the food chain.

Trump began with an observation that Biden’s election performance is remarkable in crucial swing states compared to Barack Obama’s past election performances, a fact that raises eyebrows in his view.

RELATED: Report: Media’s Biased Coverage of the Election May Have Handed the Presidency to Biden

Trump Snaps at Lightweight Reporter Jeff Mason

Mason began by asking the President if he’d be willing to concede the election should the Electoral College votes for Biden.

“Just so you understand, this election was a fraud,” he said.

“They have Biden beating Obama in areas that matter in terms of the election in swing states.  And yet he’s losing to Obama all over the place,” Trump continued. “But he’s beating Obama in swing states which are states that mattered in terms of the election.”

Mason tried interrupting the President which didn’t work out too well for him. Trump quickly snaps back at the reporter over his lack of respect.

“Don’t talk to me that way,” Trump scolded. “You’re just a lightweight. Don’t talk to me that way. Don’t talk to …”

“I’m the President of the United States. Don’t ever talk to the president that way,” he continued before shifting to another question.

RELATED: Barack Obama Blasts Hispanics Who Voted For Trump – They Ignored The President’s Racism Because They Oppose Gay Marriage

Trump’s Touchy Relationship With a Biased, Unprofessional Media

President Trump has had to repeatedly battle a biased, unprofessional media that stands as perhaps one of the most corrupt institutions in America today.

At a press conference earlier this year, CNN reporter Jim Acosta claimed his network’s reputation “on delivering the truth is a lot better than yours.”

The President wrecked him on a national stage.

Acosta, of course, struggled to recall the fact that his network had to settle a massive lawsuit with Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann after the cable news station smeared him as a racist for the crime of wearing a MAGA hat.

Or the fact that CNN once had a ‘journalist of the year’ forced to resign at another outlet after it was discovered he fabricated his stories “on a grand scale” for many years.

Or the fact that three of their reporters had to leave the network after the publication of a ‘fake news’ report on Russia that was later retracted.

Or the fact that they blatantly helped doctor a call transcript with Ukraine to help fuel impeachment.

Or the numerous other stories that were proven to be false.

There have been other reporters at other outlets that the President has had to put in their place.

A Yahoo News reporter in April was on the receiving end of a verbal tongue-lashing when he tried to corner the President with false data about coronavirus testing.

President Trump had to tell CNN reporter Jeremy Diamond that his network is “fake news” and explained to the reporter he was sorely lacking in a major area.

PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor was on the receiving end of several testy retorts by the President over the years.

A study conducted by the Media Research Center recently shows biased media coverage very likely tilted the election in favor of President-elect Joe Biden.

President Trump has repeatedly warned Americans that the media is the “enemy of the people.”

They’ve more than proven him right over the past four years.

The post Trump Snaps At ‘Lightweight’ Reporter: ‘Don’t Ever Talk to the President That Way’ appeared first on The Political Insider.

On Thanksgiving, I’m thankful my ancestors left Europe, and that America took them in

“I’ve got something I’d like to say.” That’s what I usually offer up as a preamble, as I try to get the attention of my kids and other family members gathered around the Thanksgiving table—although this year, due to COVID-19, it will sadly be just my wife and kids. It usually takes a couple of attempts, but once we’re all on the same page, I offer words of thanks for my ancestors. I talk about how brave they must have been to leave the communities of their birth—which were at least familiar, despite the hardship, discrimination, and all-too-common violence they faced—and come to a land where they didn’t speak the language, didn’t know the culture, and, in many cases, didn’t know a soul.

In this offering, I mention the family names of the people who came and the places they came from. We’ve done quite a bit of genealogical research—on my side and my wife’s side of the family—and are lucky to have as much information as we do. My goal is to give my kids a sense of who their ancestors were, and what they went through to give us a chance to have the life we do. One branch of my father’s family came from Vilnius, now the capital of Lithuania; another from Riga, Latvia’s capital; another from Minsk, capital of Belarus; and the last from Odessa, now in Ukraine. Growing up, I had learned that all my father’s ancestors were “Russian.” It turns out none of them came from places that are now in that country (at least as of this writing).

The story is similar on my mother’s side. One branch was described to me as Austrian; in fact they came from Skole in today’s Ukraine. The other was Hungarian, and came from Sighet (Elie Wiesel’s hometown) in Transylvania, now a province of Romania. During my Thanksgiving meal talk, I also thank my wife’s family, who came from Vienna, Poland, and Russia. In reality, the primary point of identification in terms of culture and identity for all these people was not the country of origin on their passport, but the fact that they were members of the Jewish people, irrespective of any particular level of belief or religiosity.

In addition to being Jews, the family ancestors I’ll be acknowledging were also, of course, Americans. And that’s the other part of the thanks I’ll give on the holiday. I’m thankful that my ancestors had a place to go, that they could become Americans and make a life here.

The last of them got in just under the wire, arriving a few months after the First World War and only a couple of years before a series of immigration “reforms” severely limited the number of immigrants our country accepted from outside the British Isles and northwest Europe. My wife’s grandmother’s family got out of Poland in 1937—and only because the youngest child had been born here (it’s a long story), one of the oldest living “anchor babies,” I’d surmise. Very few Jews were able to find refuge here at that point and immediately afterward—during the years when they needed it most.

I make sure my kids know about these restrictions on immigration, as well as the fact that Asians had almost no chance to emigrate and become U.S. citizens until the early 1950s. We also talk about how—although their ancestors and other Jewish immigrants certainly didn’t have it easy—they at least had opportunities that America denied to the large numbers of African Americans and American Indians who had arrived long before our family. America didn’t treat everyone living here equally, either on paper or in practice. Certainly, as the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and too many others have reminded us, we’ve still got room for improvement on that front as well, to say the least, although we have come a long way thanks to those heroes who fought and bled to get us as far as we have come.

Over the past four years, the soon-to-be-former occupant of the White House has been making the process for coming here far more difficult, far more treacherous, for refugees and asylum-seekers. But hopefully, The Man Who Lost The Popular Vote (Again) will be shuffling off the stage in the very near future. That is something for which my family and I are deeply thankful.

Contrast him with the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society of Pennsylvania, who last year organized a Thanksgiving event in Philadelphia specifically for immigrants—the 11th year they’ve done so—although they won’t be able to do something similar this year thanks, if that’s the word, to the pandemic. Over 100 people shared the holiday meal:

Vanessa, who declined to give her last name, says the event is exactly what she and her family needed after being under the threat of deportation.

"We couldn’t miss it today, because recently my parents were in deportation court," she said.

Vanessa says she's thankful her family can stay together just in time for the holiday.

If that organization sounds familiar, it might be because of the wonderful work it does on behalf of immigrants, or it might be because the terrorist who killed 11 Jews at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh specifically mentioned HIAS in a post just a few hours before committing that mass murder:

A couple of hours before opening fire in a Pittsburgh synagogue, Robert Bowers, the suspected gunman, posted on the social network Gab, “HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.” HIAS is the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and Bowers had posted about it at least once before. Two and a half weeks earlier, he had linked to a HIAS project called National Refugee Shabbat and written, “Why hello there HIAS! You like to bring in hostile invaders to dwell among us?” Another post that most likely referred to HIAS read, “Open you Eyes! It’s the filthy EVIL jews Bringing the Filthy EVIL Muslims into the Country!!”

So while I’m thankful to our country for taking in my family, and so many others, I am aware that not everyone approves of America’s generosity. There’s another person, whose family is also Jewish and from Eastern Europe, who expressed a sense of gratitude that reminded me of my own. This person did so in the context of coming forward to testify in an impeachment inquiry focused on Donald Trump. He has faced anti-Semitism from Trump and his allies in retaliation for stepping forward and telling the truth. Here are the words of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, words that make me proud to share my heritage with this man:

Next month will mark 40 years since my family arrived in the United States as refugees. When my father was 47 years old he left behind his entire life and the only home he had ever known to start over in the United States so that his three sons could have better, safer lives. His courageous decision inspired a deep sense of gratitude in my brothers and myself and instilled in us a sense of duty and service. All three of us have served or are currently serving in the military. Our collective military service is a special part of our family’s story in America.

I also recognize that my simple act of appearing here today, just like the courage of my colleagues who have also truthfully testified before this Committee, would not be tolerated in many places around the world. In Russia, my act of expressing my concerns to the chain of command in an official and private channel would have severe personal and professional repercussions and offering public testimony involving the President would surely cost me my life. I am grateful for my father’s brave act of hope 40 years ago and for the privilege of being an American citizen and public servant, where I can live free of fear for mine and my family’s safety.

Dad, my sitting here today in the US Capitol talking to our elected officials is proof that you made the right decision forty years ago to leave the Soviet Union and come here to United States of America in search of a better life for our family. Do not worry, I will be fine for telling the truth.

Thanksgiving—at least in the form we celebrate in this country—is an American invention, and also a holiday about each of our relationships to America, and to our fellow Americans. It means different things to different people, depending for some on how their ancestors were treated. For me, America is my home, the only one I’ve got. It is the place that made my life and my family possible. My membership in the American people, the American national community, is central to my identity.

We are living in a time when, once again, demagogues are playing on our deepest fears to argue against taking in people fleeing oppression in their homelands, just as was the case in 1939. Demagogues are also casting doubt on the loyalty of Jewish Americans who were born elsewhere, just as was the case in the Dreyfus Affair over a century ago. I am truly grateful for what America did for me—taking in my ancestors when they needed a place to go. I know there are many others who will end up being far less fortunate. They are the ones we have to fight for now.

This is an updated version of a piece I have posted the last couple years on Thanksgiving.

Cheers and Jeers: Family Dysfunction Awareness Day

Before the election I predicted that, if he won, Joe Biden would call the Butterball Hotline at least once during his presidency. I stand by that. He just gives off that vibe. As we wait for our 46th president to prove me correct, here’s another POTUS—“Joe Bethersonton”—doing the deed:

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My annual list of thanks, a Molly Ivins bon mot, and a few more goodies below the fold. Then let's eat.

Cheers and Jeers for Thanksgiving 2020

Note: As for the rest of the C&J posting week, nothing formal tomorrow, although we'll post a "Who won the week" poll—the greatest ever—in the diaries at our usual Friday evening time (7:30ET). Back Monday.  Have a great holiday and may your end of the wishbone be the long one.

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14 days!!!

Days 'til Christmas: 29

Days 'til the National Menorah lighting in D.C.: 14

Date of Lincoln's Thanksgiving proclamation: 10/3/1863

Number of NFL games today: (Ravens-Steelers game postponed due to Covid-19)

Population of Turkey, Texas (hometown of Bob Wills): 384

Percent of Parade readers who believe calories don't exist on Thanksgiving: 69%

Number of Thanksgivings during which Eric Trump has gotten his head stuck in a can of cranberry sauce: 6

Number of Americans who intend to eat human brains for Thanksgiving dinner, up from 4,021 last year and spreading rapidly from northwest to southeast (stay tuned to your short-wave radios for updates and lock your doors): 5,641

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Your Thursday Molly Ivins Moment:

The Progress Report has come up with some dandy things to be thankful for, starting with American troops. It also lists:

  • Rep. Jack Murtha, D-Pa., for showing it's patriotic to speak your mind.
  • The 90 senators who stood up to Cheney to say that torture is not an American value.
  • The 79 senators who demanded the Bush administration detail a plan for Iraq.
  • That Sen. Bill Frist is not our physician.

Consider these additional delights: Tom Delay is under indictment, Heckuva Job Brownie is no longer on the public payroll, and for some inexplicable reason, the administration found a Republican prosecutor in the Plame affair who seems to care more about the law than politics. […]

There's music in poor bleeding New Orleans again, Ted Koppel and his hair put in a commendable 25 years, some terrific new films are out, my puppy has not eaten a shoe for an entire month now, and the Mountain West is moving from red to purple. So let's all loosen our belts and get right down to the all-American tradition of overeating on Thanksgiving. It's still a great country, even if it is a little strange. I am grateful for all my fellow citizens -- how would we know it was America if we didn't hear regularly from the nincompoop faction? Happy turkey to you all.

Thanksgiving 2005

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Puppy Pic of the Day: Suck it up, Buttercup...

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And my world-famous annual…

Things For Which I Am Thankful: 2020 Edition

Our republic, which we've decided to keep for at least four more years

The 2020 Biden-Harris landslide

Red-to-blue flips Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Arizona

Grassroots Democratic organizers and voters, especially in red states and doubly-especially women of color

Campaign volunteers, ride sharers, and polling place workers

Nancy Pelosi, preparing for her historic 4th term as Speaker of the House

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Katie Porter, and all the other kickass-style House Democrats

Having an astronaut (Mark Kelly) in the Senate again

The judges, legal teams, and elections officials who made Trump's attempted coup one of the clumsiest and inept debacles in American history

House Intelligence and Impeachment Committee chair Adam Schiff

The legacies of Rep. John Lewis and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Maine’s state government, which will spend another year with Dem control of the state House and Senate, and Democratic governor Janet Mills navigating the Covid-19 crisis with skill and compassion

The Congressional Black, Hispanic and Progressive Caucuses

Doctors

Nurses

Hospital administrative workers

Dr. Anthony Fauci

Essential workers

The Covid-19 tracers and trackers

The vaccine researchers sciencing the shit out of the virus

The governors and state health officials making difficult decisions and sticking to them as mobs of ignorant narcissists embrace superspreader events

Americans wearing masks (including over their nose), social distancing, and frequently washing their hands

New Zealand, for showing the world how to fight a pandemic together and win 

All the indigenous people of North America

Sadat Rahman, winner of Desmond Tutu’s 2020 International Children's Peace Prize

The Nobel and Pulitzer winners

The first responders and relief organizers who went above and beyond in the wake of this year's hurricanes, floods, and wildfires

Employers who give their employees Thanksgiving off

Employees who don’t get the day off so they can keep vital services running while the rest of us do

Teachers

Immigrants

Caregivers

Our troops over here and over there

Wind turbines and solar panels

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AMERICANS WHO VOTED

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Samantha Bee, Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers, and SNL for continuing the renaissance in late-night political humor

Randy Rainbow and Sarah Cooper for lighting up social media

Freedom of the press

Freedom of speech fuck Trump

The cardboard boxes that'll hold the stuff of departing White House maniacs Stephen Miller, Jared, Ivanka, Mike Pence, and the most destructive and corrupt cabinet in American history

The #5 thing on internet lists that actually SHOCK me

The Lincoln Project, for showing Democrats how to throw a punch

Ta-Nehisi Coates, Malcolm Nance, Joy Reid, Bishop William Barber, Joan Walsh, Charles Pierce, John Nichols, Howard Dean, E.J. Dionne, Eugene Robinson, David K. Johnston, the Kagro in the Morning radio show

Chuck Rosenberg’s zen aura

Naomi Klein, Marcy Wheeler, Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, Trump money-follower David Fahrenthold, Trump fact-checker Daniel Dale (who documented all 20,000+ of Trump lies), David Corn, Lawrence O’Donnell, Nicolle Wallace, Joy Reid

Atrios, Digby, Charles M. Blow, Americablog, John Cole, Joe Jervis, Michelangelo Signorile, Dan Savage, Leonard Pitts, Lizz Winstead

Media Matters, The Hispanic Federation, The Southern Poverty Law Center, PFAW, PFLAG, 350.org, RAICES, March for Our Lives, Indivisible, Black Lives Matter, Run For Something, Planned Parenthood, NAACP, IAVA, ACLU and the many other advocacy organizations that prevented the worst of Trump’s abuses, often in coordination with each other 

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Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter

Bill and Hillary Clinton

Barack and Michelle Obama

Joe and Jill Biden

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My partner, Michael, for growing old with me

Obamacare

All of my bosses (if you’re reading this, you’re one of them) at Daily Kos

The front-pagers and diarists here, for explaining stuff I don't know boo about

My morning front-page blogger-neighbors: the Abbreviated Pundit Roundup, morning cartoonists, and Elections Morning Digest

The rest of the progressive blogosphere, for having the wisdom to follow all of the orders issued by “Keyboard Kingpin” Markos “Mouse Tits” Moulitsas

Netroots Nation and its organizers, for executing a flawless virtual convention when the pandemic prevented the in-person one from happening in Denver

Those amazingly upbeat Good News Roundups

Dirty Fucking Hippies. We must breed more of them.

M’ doggie. M' pootie. M’ squirrels.

Wineries

Distilleries

Breweries

Teriyaki sauce

Mayochup yes I said mayochup!

Taco Tuesdays

Excedrin Migraine. Next to the epidural, God’s gift to pain relief.

Blueberries

Candy corn

Snow

Evolution

Electric cars

High-speed rail

NASA

The expected return of net neutrality

The expected return to the Paris Climate Agreement

Unions

Diversity

The Resistance

Maine’s proximity to Canada

Peace. (Yeah, it's a word. Really. I looked it up.)

That magic moment every day at 6am when the Bacardi 151 crosses the blood-brain barrier.

Microwave ovens, which are excellent for re-heating food that gets cold because some idiot spent three hours listing all the stuff he was thankful for.

My excellent memory

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Pass the taters.

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